Helen Otterson

Artist Statement

My interest in biomorphic form originates from my experience with the human encounter with disease, which led me to observe organic growth and changes in cells. The extraordinary changes, the multiple forms and textures inspire tactile creations that reference the relationship between health and disease and explore the organic process of growth and replication.

As I turned to growth and change in plant life, I was drawn to the succulents of my native California landscape. Life is composed of the same basic elements and the same goals i.e. the survival of life. Both of my inspirational sources live in harsh environments. Disease creates a harsh environment in which the survival of healthy cells is precarious. The cells must split and transform to survive. Succulents live in dry, hot environments, and must generate leaves and tendrils that adapt for survival. Each struggle to live, and each creates in its humble way beautiful forms. These combinations of botanical forms and biologic imagery reflect the cohesive integration of form and function found in the natural world. My work is a hybrid of these cells and plant forms that share the drive to survive.

Both in art and nature, a single element repeat itself many times. Many plants follow simple recursive formulas in generating their branching shapes and leaf patterns. One form may find itself nestled inside the same form, but in diminishing size, resulting in striking shapes. Capitalizing on nature’s fractal patterns, I create organic forms that repeat, yet change and are similar, yet distinctive from nature.

Inspired by the mysteries of nature, these ambiguous hybrids of cellular and organic forms celebrate life. Creating forms with fluid movement, I combine materials such as clay, glass or bronze, to capture the beauty of nature’s organic form. These materials are ideal mediums to showcase the rich surfaces and curvilinear components found in nature. The bright color palette draws on aspects in natural world and reflects the celebration of the pursuit of life and beauty of the natural world.

-- Helen Otterson